Local school security tested by authorities

School district policy and procedure dictate how individuals are admitted into schools during the school day.

Through an intruder drill at each Warren County School District building on Wednesday, school district and law enforcement officials tested whether those procedures are being adhered to in each district building.

According to a release from the WCSD, “the intruder drill dealt with visitor access to the building through designated entrances.

Superintendent Dr. William Clark explained that non-uniformed police officers and district administrators went to each district building and tested the process of gaining entrance to the school.

Clark said the drill went as he expected but said he did “notice some little things. We have some buildings where we may have to revisit accessibility once you get in.” He explained that some of the older buildings in the district might require some “logistical redesigning” in that regard.

Procedure also requires each individual to sign in and wear a visitor badge and Clark said he observed some “inconsistencies there.”

“Our big takeaways were, we could so some things logistically,” to enhance safety. “Some said, ‘yeah, we need to do a better job.’ The couple (of schools) I went to (were) thankful that we did what we did,” said Clark. “You get in a rut. You can’t get complacent.”

Sgt. Eric McKean, with Warren-based Pennsylvania State Police, said “the way this was approached was as a learning exercise for the people that work at the schools. Sometimes things like this are really beneficial (and) serves as a good reminder to be vigilant.”

McKean felt that Wednesday’s drill met that objective.

“I think everyone worked out very well,” he said. “As with anything, there’s always going to be some places that do better than others. If nothing else, it was a good reminder. Nothing is perfect but if you follow protocols, you give yourself the best chance of being safe.”

He spoke about the value of law enforcement participating in drills such as this.

“It is really important to have, whenever they are training their people, the first responders there as well. Whenever there is a critical incident, things are going to happen quickly (and it is valuable to) have people familiar with how things are laid out. It’s something that we stress with our troopers as well. I thought it turned out great. A great teaching moment to get some experience there. This is a good thing.”

Clark explained that this drill has been multiple months in preparation, far before recent threats and issues at Youngsville High School and Warren Area High School. “I have done this in all the districts I have been in,” Clark said. “It took time to get the network together to pull this together.”